theremin, oboe d’amore, viola, cello, and harpsichord (2003)

1. Gaze

2. Gallop
3. Airpiece
4. Retreat
5. Pendulum
6. Benediction

premiere: 11/30/2003, Follen Community Church, Lexington, MA

Winsor Music: Elizabeth Brown, theremin; Peggy Pearson, oboe d’amore; Betty Hauck, viola; Rafael Popper-Keizer, cello; Peter Sykes, harpsichord

video by Lothar Osterburg (2005)

duration: 14′

program note

Beatitudes, for theremin, oboe d’amore, viola, cello, and harpsichord, was written for Winsor Music. Each brief movement is a small world of instrumental color. Like much of my music, it’s intimate, lyrical, and melancholy.

I hoped to induce stylistic vertigo by introducing the theremin to the other instruments, which have a long history together in musical civilization, particularly in Baroque music. The theremin’s otherworldly vocal quality, wide pitch and dynamic range, and ability to slide are exaggerated when paired with the harpsichord’s definite attack, clear pitches, and concise dynamic range. Opposites attract! The oboe d’amore is deeper and softer and darker than the oboe; I think of it as how oboe would sound in a dream, and have used the theremin to give it a musical halo in some of the movements.